Waterbrook Press asked if I wanted to be a part of their Value Fiction Grab Bag Tour. I devour fiction so I said, "Bring it on!" Later I was wishing I hadn't.
They sent me two random titles out of the many they're discounting down to $5.99 for spring break reads. I scanned some of the books that I might get and saw Robin Jones Gunn and Angela Elwell Hunt, two authors I've really enjoyed. The books that arrived were by two authors I've never read.
The first book, Beneath A Southern Sky by by Deborah Raney. The description reads, "Daria Camfield is expecting her first child when her husband Nate is reported dead on the mission field. Devastated, she returns to the States and soon marries again. But two years later Nate is found alive in the jungle. How can Daria possibly choose between he two men who love her?"
I must admit that dread filled me when I first read the description. How could this have a good ending? One reviewer said that Deborah Raney often writes five tissue books. Well, if you decide to give it a go, I would recommend five BOXES of tissues.
Deborah is talented in the writing department but she takes you through every bit of each character's horrific pain. And it doesn't stop. Ever. Pain, pain, pain. It's a gut-wrenching, heartache-filled story. And it will haunt you after you finish the last page. There is no nice resolution. The missionary's daughter has no idea who her real dad is, and there is another child in the picture as well.
Other stories have used the 'presumed dead' and about to marry storyline (think Princess Bride and a Cary Grant movie), but that was just it - ABOUT to marry not already married. And there were no children to consider. Frankly, I disliked everything about the book except for the author's great descriptions.
The second book, A Faithful Heart, will also leave a bitter, haunting over you. I have never read Al and Joanna Lacy books, so I had no idea what I was getting into but I had heard people warn me that they don't write enjoyable books. Someone must love these books because they're prolific writers. A Faithful Heart is about a nurse traveling by wagon train to visit her sister, Dottie and Jerrod, her brother-in-law. Jerrod was a hero and great guy until dementia took over and Dottie needs helping putting him in an Old West mental hospital. I can't say much without giving it away but again there are children involved, and again it's not a happy ending. I had to work hard to get in a good mood after this grab bag tour.